Boaties are being urged to prep their boat, check their gear and know the rules ahead of the long weekend when many first venture onto the water for the new season.
With motorised vessels often being stored over the colder months, its hoped this reminder will reduce the number of calls received around this time of year for broken down boats.
“Safer Boating Week is traditionally the week before Labour Day weekend, which is when many boaties start getting back on the water,” says Bay of Plenty Harbourmaster Peter Buell. “The prep, check, know message is a simple message but an important one.
“Making sure you are up to speed with the rules is especially relevant with the recent changes to the Navigation Safety Bylaw. For example boaties now have to wear lifejackets unless the skipper has assessed the conditions and advised it's safe to remove their lifejacket, and powered vessels over four metres must be named,” says Peter.
The annual prep, check, know checklist includes:
Prep the boat - service the engine, check and change the fuel, check the battery, and generally give the boat a good once over.
Check the gear - make sure your lifejackets are still fit for purpose and you have enough. Service any inflatable lifejackets and ensure you have two reliable forms of communication equipment.
Know the rules - ensure you know the rules of the road on the water, and make sure you understand the requirements are in your area.
The total number of recreational vessels owned in New Zealand is currently estimated to be about 960,000, with more than half of these being kayaks/canoes and power boats less than 6 metres in length.